Traveling Tip #3: Mongolia

Some things to consider about making a trip to Mongolia.

1.  Getting there is not easy.  You could go the hard way, or you could call a travel agent.  Travel agents work best for areas of the world where internet connectivity is low.  I would recommend Tegshee at Flights Mongolia.  You can reach her at:  booking[at]flightsmongolia[dot]com – for those who follow flights hoping that they move up and down, the earlier you book flights to Mongolia the better because flights don’t go down.

2.  I suggest going to the countryside to camp and get away from the drunken Mongols.  I think the best idea is to hire a car with a driver and a translator.  I used a travel agency called Radiant Sky, located on the main strip not too far from the State Department Store.   The rental options range from Russian Jeep to Toyota Land Cruiser.  I went with a Russian Jeep, but if I were to do it again, I would go with the Land Cruiser or the 4Runner.  The Russian Jeep has terrible fuel economy (net net it costs more than the savings on per day vehicle rental), and it is also really slow (my driver averaged 40km/h and I think he hit 80km/h once when he descended a really steep and long hill).

3.  Any car on the road can become a taxi, and you will pay by the kilometer.  I never asked for a quote beforehand, and that never turned out to be a problem until I went to the airport at 5AM.  The driver wanted round trip fare for the 10KM ride because it was too early for him to take someone back into town.  So, ask if you are going to the airport.  If you are in town and someone tries to screw you, simply give them the fair rate and get out of the car.  By the way, the trip to/from the airport should be between 8,000 to 10,000 TK each way.

4.  If you are going camping, dress in layers, bring a warm sleeping bag with you, or make sure you ask your tour company for extra blankets.  Mongolia doesn’t really get warm, especially at night.  In July, it was around 40-50 degrees at night, and there is no heating infrastructure anywhere.

Food in Vietnam

The View of Muong Hoa Valley From My Balcony

Sapa is tucked away in Northern Vietnam, near the border with China.  It is nearly lunchtime, and from my balcony I can smell chicken being roasted over a charcoal fire.  The smell of garlic, sugar, oyster sauce, and red pepper wafting through the air is unbelievable.  I will definitely miss the food here.

PS – click on this photo – the thumbnail does not do it justice.

Diving in Bali

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Dahab, Very Nice

Dahab is a backpacker’s delight.  It is a stretch of beach on the Red Sea with water so clear I was able to see 12+ miles underwater.  I will be back later to go scuba diving.

From Dahab, I took an 11PM bus to the base of Mount Sinai, arriving at the base of Sinai around 1:30AM.  It took about four hours to hike to the top, and the sunrise was beautiful.  Now, if only you could find this

Pictures of Baalbek

I thought Rome was cool when I visited – I was very impressed with the engineering feats accomplished given the technology available at the time.  The month, in Lebanon, I visited Baalbek and was amazed by the condition of the ruins there.  The best part?  There were less than 20 people at the site and you can climb and explore the ruins to your heart’s delight.

You think the Spanish Steps are Wide?

 

Amazing Condition

Look at the Size of This Thing

Awesome.

Crazy huh?

What I Have Been up to Lately

Amazing!

Kayaked off the coast of Turkey

Was left in awe by the beauty and culture of Beirut

Climbed amazing ruins at Baalbek

Visited Ramsey in Amman – check out his website

Drove the Desert Highway to visit where Christ was baptized

Tested my buoyancy in the Dead Sea

Ran out of fuel tracking Moses’s footsteps in Wadi Musa

Paid ~$73 entrance fee to visit Petra

Drove the King’s Highway to Aqaba

Took an overnight ferry to Nuweiba, Egypt

Raced through the mountains of the Sinai Peninsula to Dahab

Dove into the Red Sea

Watched the sunrise at the top of Mount Sinai